Is Judaism inherently racist?
29th November 2009
Eliza Slavet, author of Racial Fever: Freud and the Jewish Question, wonders about the relationship between race and religion in a recent opinion piece featured on her website. Inspired by a November 7 NY Times article titled “Who is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question” Slavet considers the underlying racial ramifications of the Jewish faith:
“For most people, race and religion probably seem like separate matters. But an ongoing legal case in Britain suggests that this is a false dichotomy. State-funded religious schools in Britain may base their admissions policies on students’ faith, but not on their race. However, one of the most salient distinctions between Judaism and Christianity rests upon their distinct understandings of the relationships between faith and race. Christianity is built upon the idea that faith in Christ negates racial and national distinctions; by contrast, Judaism is built upon the identification with Jewish ancestors, particularly those described in the story of Exodus. Anti-racist movements have often invoked Christian notions of universal brotherhood to argue for the rights of all humans, regardless of their ethnic or racial ancestors. While Christian understandings of the irrelevance of race have become the norm in most secular Western societies, the question of who’s a Jew complicates this norm.”
To read the rest of the piece, visit Eliza’s blog.